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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A quick thought on operators and APIs

Operators want to sell access to certain capabilities and assets in their network. Many are looking at exposing APIs to developers, enterprises or content providers. The GSMA is pushing its OneAPI programme as a lowest-common denominator set of offerings, while most major operators have major efforts for proprietary API exposure.

In general, I am a believer in this - and it goes to the core of many of the two-sided business models expounded by my partners at Telco 2.0.

But... if the general notion of API exposure and consumption is truly believed by those at the network operators, shouldn't they be "eating their own dogfood"?

As a starting point, wouldn't you expect the amount of API value to be imported from other sources, to be roughly equivalent to the amount exported to these new customer groups?

Now obviously the operators' large databases and infrastructure probably gives them a natural bias here, but that's not to say that similar sources of convenience and value lie elsewhere, which could be bought in.

If APIs are genuinely *that* valuable & available in the short-term, telcos ought to be avid purchasers of each other's capabilities, or those from banks or Google or Facebook or numerous vertical-market specialists. If customer data is valuable, shouldn't a mobile operator want to get access to fixed customer insights, and vice versa?

NEW Mobile Broadband Traffic Management Paper

NEW Broadband Business Models Strategy Report

1 comment:

Alex Rootham said...

Good point. At TELUS, we do tend to use our own externally-available APIs quite a bit. With the world's first inter-operator API trial underway in Canada, you'll probably see more. Check this out: http://canada.oneapi.gsmworld.com/